Playdate preorders: When, how much, and why you should be excited

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Playdate was given a pre-order time and date and some more information on how and why you’d want to get a device. If you’ve made it this far, you probably already know what Playdate is, but just in case: It’s a very strange piece of gaming equipment. You play games on it with hardware buttons and a crank – a hardware crank. It’s just about the most unique attempt to make a bit of gaming hardware in the past decade, and it’s about to become available to the masses.

The device called Playdate is called a “handheld video game system” by its creators at Panic. The Twitter description for the official Twitter account for the device included the text “On sale and shipping in 2021, hopefully.” This text remained live even as, at 1:30PM Central Time on July 22, the company had a post which suggested they’d be releasing “pre-order” details. That post was posted at 12 PM, July 22, 2021.

It was about 30 minutes after the initial post that Playdate released additional information about the machine and the pre-order. Panic said that pre-orders will not “sell out”, regardless of the number of pre-orders logged. They went on to confirm that there’ll be a batch of approximately 20k Playdate units that they say “should ship in late 2021.”

Panic also revealed that they’ll be shipping additional orders beyond the approximately 20k units in the year 2022. Panic confirmed that they’ll “adjust 2022 production” based on the demand they see in the second half of 2021.

If you’re very, very interested in this machine, Panic says you’ll still only be able to order 2 units “per person.” This pre-order session will include the Playdate Cover, but the Playdate Stereo Dock will be “coming later.” All pre-orders require full payment, but “can be cancelled anytime for a full refund.”

The pre-order price will be $179 USD, without shipping. This price includes the Playdate device and “24 original Playdate games, delivered weekly, at no extra charge.” This release also includes a “very nice yellow USB-C to USB-A cable.”

Given the amount of interest the company has drummed up in the time since it first revealed development of this device and the games that’ll work with it, now is a very exciting time for odd gaming enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a unique new way to play new video games made by people who are genuinely interested in creating games you can play without the far-too-common “check-in” and “pay to win” models present in most gaming today, especially mobile gaming, now’s a good time to take a peek at Playdate.

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